Monday, November 10, 2008

Sharks in Atlantic threatened with extinction

Latest report shows that more than quarter of sharks in north-east Atlantic are threatened with extinction, mostly because overfishing. Some shark species (rock salmon and porbeagle) highly prized for their meat, are even listed as critically endangered because of excessive overfishing. Among other critically endangered shark species are also angel sharks, deep-water gulper shark, and common skates, and if we want to preserve remaining number of these species we need serious fishing restrictions that would put an end to overfishing.

Porbeagle - One of the shark species highly prized for their meat

Overfishing is serious threat to sharks survival in Atlantic, especially since sharks have tendency to grow slowly, it takes enough them for them to mature, and they produce few young. Different marine conservation organizations have already asked quick action and have urged fisheries ministers to impose tighter restrictions by limiting fishing quotas, at least until shark population starts showing signs of recovery. Current fishing quotas allow more than 800 tonnes of shark meat to be taken next year.

This should be done as quickly as possible or otherwise some shark species could be lost forever. Loss of only one shark species could cause severe changes in many marine ecosystems, and loss of several shark species could have fatal consequences on entire biodiversity in Atlantic since sharks are on top of the marine food chain. We still have enough time to save sharks but we do need to act right away.

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